Former top cop John Meskell has died.
Former top cop John Meskell has died.

Controversial ex top cop dies

A FORMER Gold Coast top cop once accused of taking bribes from notorious Glitter Strip brothel bosses has died.

Ex-Detective Inspector John Meskell, who was named at the Fitzgerald Inquiry into police and political corruption, passed away last Friday, aged 88.

A funeral notice today described him as 'one of nature's true gentlemen'.

Mr Meskell was charged with corruption after being named at the Fitzgerald Inquiry by police bribes kingpin Jack 'The Bagman' Herbert.

Herbert told a District Court trial in 1992 that Meskell and fellow Coast officers Superintendent Mark Jackson and Senior-Sergeant Peter Le Gros had been his partners-in-crime on the Glitter Strip, taking bribes to protect brothels, illegal casinos and SP bookies.

Herbert testified that the bribes included a $10,000 kickback from brothel boss Ron 'The Pom' Kingsnorth to allow him to park his Rolls-Royce outside his Mermaid Beach massage parlour, the Geisha Bath-house.

The corrupt cops also allegedly received bribes to protect brothels run by infamous Fitzgerald Inquiry figures Hector Hapeta, Anne-Marie Tilley and Frank Palmer.

While Jackson and Le Gros were found guilty and jailed for eight years and six years respectively, Mr Meskell - who had described the Fitzgerald Inquiry allegations as 'scurrilous and embarrassing' - was acquitted.

Speaking outside court, he said he was 'very pleased' to have been acquitted but devastated at the jailing of his friends and colleagues.

Mr Meskell, who also had a long association with the Seagulls Leagues Club at Tweed Heads, was also named in State Parliament as having been involved in SP betting.

During his time as a senior detective, Mr Meskell was involved in high-profile investigations including two dramatic payroll heists which netted more than $300,000.

He also led the investigation into a 1987 murder suicide which left a 3-year-old toddler orphaned.

After being named at the Fitzgerald Inquiry, Mr Meskell was one of several officers to controversially retire with superannuation payouts totalling more than $1 million.

His funeral will be held next Monday at Tweed Heads.